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It's play time!

It's play time!

The BIG launch! The new-look "Go Places to Play" is here - an online park finder that makes it easy for you and your family to enjoy fun and exciting play opportunities in and around Bristol.

We've recently redesigned for Bristol City Council so that it not only looks better than before but it works better. "Go Places to Play" is now even more intelligent so that you can find parks and play areas far more quickly and efficiently. We understand that you live busy lives and need information at your fingertips - wherever you may be. The site is now responsive so it is easy to use on smartphones, tablets and laptops. This means you can quickly  find your nearest park when you're out and about. You can click on map points to get further information about the park or site you are interested in, or you can use the postcode search to bring up sites in your area.

The online calendar means you can search for local events that suit your requirements and interests. You'll be provided with results if you search using a relevant keyword, or you can find something more specific using the handy advanced search which allows you to search by event type, location and distance from your chosen postcode.

There are also some great ideas for play featuring tips and suggestions from our Play friends and partners - a particularly good resource for the school holidays. Plus, our brand new FAQs section answers many of the common questions we get asked.

As before the option is there to register as an event organiser which means you can upload your own events to feature on the events calendar. Once approved you will see them published.

People like to feel as though they are a part of a website and the 'community' that use it. Interaction is key so if you find something you like on Go Places to Play you can "Share with a friend". Regular news updates also ensure that everybody is on top of all that's going on. It's a site that seems to have people talking, if you want to be a part of the excitement please like the Go Places to Play Facebook page here: or better still, go and check out the site to see for yourself!

Timeline for Brands – One Week to Go!

Timeline for Brands – One Week to Go!

So by now you’ve probably seen that your profile and your friends have changed to the new Timeline feature on Facebook…do you like it? Not many people seem to…I however, am a fan. 

When I saw that Facebook was rolling out to the brand pages I was looking forward to seeing the results. We look after a few Facebook pages for our clients, so I was keen to see what the difference would be. 

First impression was that this format is better – key thing for me is that it looks more modern, easier to promote specific posts, and I’m happy the page gating is gone…too many pages have far too many gates for my liking and some pages you came across had a 20 strong list of gates for each campaign they were running. 

So what’s changed? Well quite a bit..I’ve detailed below the main changes that I see: 

  1. Cover Photo – this is the first thing people will see...there are some new guidelines from Facebook on this, which focus on removing the promotional element of page gates.
  2. Tabs – these have replaced the links on the left hand side of the old layout and you have the ability to choose 3 of the 4 featured tabs. 
  3. About – the ‘About’ section has been given prominence underneath the profile picture. 
  4. Messages – users have the ability to message brand pages. 
  5. Admin Panel – the new admin panel provides page owners with insights and notifications all in one place.
  6. History – users can easily and quickly go through your status updates, photos, posts quick and easily with the history panel. 
  7. Pinning and Highlighting – page owners have the ability to pin and highlight posts to give more prominence to important updates. 

With the rollout happening on 30th March…next week is your last chance to make amends to your page before it’s released to the public

Created on Friday March 23 2012 10:40 AM

Tags: facebook social timeline

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The Future of Facebook

The Future of Facebook

A lot of people are talking about the Facebook IPO and the changes that it may bring; THE social network will no longer be answerable to only themselves but will have opened up to the pressure of shareholders. I’ve worked for a public listed company – share price matters! If the share price drops someone has to take responsibility.

I’ve also noticed the last few weeks bring up some interesting articles on the new Timeline feature (I’m a huge fan, I have to say), but quite a few are slating the new profile style. It’s very Marmite.

2012 is going to be a huge turning point for Facebook. I’ve noticed a number of friends on Facebook saying that they are leaving and to contact them through email or phone. I myself went through a massive Facebook cull of old school friends or people I met years ago that I don’t speak to. I used the analogy of I was walking down the street would I stop and speak to these people or look the other and pray they didn’t notice me. I cut my friends list by over 100 people! 

I’m not saying Facebook is going to nosedive like MySpace did, but I was on MySpace – I used it religiously for new music, talking with friends, etc. Now I use Facebook. A lot. I have the iPhone app, the iPad app, I log in on my laptop – I share news, photos, videos, I chat with friends in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. I recently posted the 20 week scan picture of my new baby before I had told most people my partner was even expecting – it’s easier than multiple calls or texts. 

It will be interesting to see the changes that happen this year and also next – will the pressure of shareholders drive visitor numbers away (which will change the landscape for businesses advertising on Facebook) or will the billion dollar revenues mean the company consistently innovates as it has been the last 6 years?  Only time will tell. 


Created on Friday February 10 2012 10:03 AM

Tags: facebook social ipo future

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Developing a Facebook Strategy

Developing a Facebook Strategy

We were approached by a client recently to advise on setting up a Facebook presence for a organisation whose target market is vulnerable children.  Hence the brief provided was not a normal Facebook presence and had a strict criteria list.

The strict criteria list related to maintaining privacy and reducing any associated risks involved in using the social network to communicate with these children.

We spent some time reviewing this list as we had experience of setting up Facebook pages for other companies and organisations whose main aim was to promote themselves through Facebook. This project’s aim was promoting the organisation BUT also ensuring communication from users was minimal.  This was something which we knew would be difficult, as this was going against what Facebook was designed for.

During our investigation we set up an array of pages, groups and profiles to understand how each would work with these key requirements. We reported back to the project team our thoughts and findings which included the challenges, issues and advantages each of these options offered.

Once an agreement was made on a preferred method, we worked on reducing the risk associated with this option. We successfully built up a test page which met the criteria list and we also identified some risks which were not considered initially by the project team to ensure our solution had the lowest risks possible. The project group are going to implement our findings once they have recieved sign off.

Social media was THE buzz word for 2011 and a lot of companies, groups and organisations are jumping on the bandwagon without thinking about the how, where and why? We’ve developed social media strategies for a number of clients this year to ensure they understand the reasons why they are doing something and the best way to use social media for their goals and aims. 

Created on Wednesday December 07 2011 04:14 PM

Tags: facebook social privacy

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5 ways to market your website on social media

5 ways to market your website on social media

We decided to put together a few simple ways to market your web site on social media sites, so take a look below at some of the easy ways to drive more traffic to your site. 

1. Online Events - hold unique online events such as 12 or 24-hour Tweet-a-thons. Encouraging followers to include links and #hashtags in all their tweets. Targets can also be set, such as aiming to reach a certain number of new followers, or the 100th person to place an order on a unique link gets their order for free.

2. Affiliate Social Network - get links with other companies to use their own Facebook and Twitter accounts to help promote your business and you return the favour.

3. Web Chats – set up live web chats or webinars through social media sites, this is a good method for providing advice or showing off a particular product / service.

4. YouTube Campaigns - set up your own YouTube channel and integrate an effective YouTube campaign into your overall promotional strategy. Make it easier for customers to share video content across their own social media networks. 

5. Vouchers / Coupons - everyone loves a voucher or coupon so promote a product or service with a voucher or coupon for social media followers. This provides a reason for people to ‘like’ your Facebook or ‘follow’ you on Twitter.

For more advice feel free to call us to arrange a meeting on how we can help your digital strategy.


Created on Wednesday November 02 2011 04:32 PM

Tags: social facebook youtube digitalmarketing

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So it’s finally here.....Facebook for iPad

So it’s finally here.....Facebook for iPad

I was on the laptop late on Monday night and decided to check on the latest going on in the world of Facebook. After typing Facebook in Google, I noticed the New York Times had posted an article saying Facebook had finally released its iPad app! Upon clicking on the article I saw that it was true and after months of rumours it had finally been released – quietly I must add!

So straight on to the iPad – I had to see what all the fuss was about and was this really worth waiting for? I had been using the myPad app for Facebook previously, which I had to pay for (Facebook is free of course). The app has apparently been ready since May and it was anticipated for release at the recent F8 conference and also the Apple ‘Let’s talk iPhone’ event.

Upon opening the app it has a very slick and recognisable feel (especially for iPhone users). The touch navigation is intuitive, as would be expected and it was easy to navigate around pages and updates quickly and easily. I was able to message a friend with a simply click and had a box pop up without leaving their profile.

The photos on the site was where it really stepped up a level – I was able to flick through hundreds of picture on albums with ease and the navigation at the bottom of screen is an excellent feature. The photos were stunning on the iPad’s display (as much as can be with the picture quality on Facebook)’s where I think the iPhone app has its limitations really but due to size more than anything.

There is still features that I need to try like the chat facilities, but it was a definite improvement on the myPad app and easier to use than the Facebook site on Safari. I would definitely recommend it for any iPad user who uses Facebook on a regular basis.

Created on Tuesday October 11 2011 10:46 AM

Tags: ipad facebook apps socialmedia

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F-commerce the first step towards Facebook domination?

F-commerce the first step towards Facebook domination?


We've all heard of e-commerce right? Well sorry, but that's so last decade, say hello to F-commerce. The new way to shop online. Businesses have realised for a long time how valuable Facebook is to their brand, with your facebook fans 41% more likely to recommend your company. With Facebook being such an integral part of everyone's lives, users currently spend 700 billion minutes per month browsing the network, it was only a matter of time for businesses to cotton onto the fact that it makes sense to not only let their facebook fans interact with them but shop with them on Facebook too, rather than making them leave to go to a separate website.

So the first UK f-commerce store was born last year with ASOS taking the lead. Although I'm not wholly convinced by the integrated store front (it feels a bit less robust than a normal site and there are some problems with navigation in chrome using back buttons, all of which is set to improve with the move to iFrames in the coming months) I think what we might be looking at is the future of the internet.

There is the argument; why shop on Facebook when there is a perfectly good, well tested, website built specifically for shopping? But Facebook offers something more; the power of recommendation and the trusted opinion of your friends and contacts. The point is that f-commerce is perhaps the beginning for the future of the internet. Maybe one day all of the internet will exist on Facebook and we'll do everything through it; read the news, look for directions, buy the latest handbag and at the same time tell our friends what we think and like.


Created on Friday May 27 2011 09:20 AM

Tags: facebook socialmedia f-commerce

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Chromebook and the Cloud

Chromebook and the Cloud

So Google's launching Chromebook, the device that connects you to the web instantly, and lets you do...not much else!

But with cloud computing that's not too much of an issue, right? Who needs all those pesky, cumbersome programmes running when, let's face it, all you really want to do is check a few emails, do a bit of facebook stalking and maybe order a new pair of shoes or three?

And even if you do want to create documents, and maybe update that spreadsheet of your finances, Google Docs lets you do it all in the Cloud with no need to save anything locally. Brilliant!

Or is it?

In the week when Facebook were outed as commissioning a smear campaign against Google regarding their Social Circle feature and the security of data online, is it such a good idea to have EVERYTHING in the cloud? And, more significantly, with Google?

Yes, it's very convenient that all you have to do to use your Chromebook is log in with your Google account, but when Chrome has all your browsing history, Google Docs have got all your data, your GMail account all your communications...well, you get the picture.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Google fan, but I don't think I'm alone in thinking it's all getting a bit scary!

Created on Friday May 13 2011 12:28 PM

Tags: google social-networking facebook chrome socialmedia chromebook

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Royal wedding or digital death?

Royal wedding or digital death?

I know, I know, I know. Not a very original theme for a blog article. Here at Focus Towers it feels like everyone's going unreasonably nuts for the forthcoming nuptials.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to bits about the extra bank holiday, but that's about as far as it goes.

2 billion people across the globe will tune in in some way to watch the ceremony, it's reckoned, making it possibly the biggest media event in history. 

Googling anything to do with weddings that day? Good luck! You're not likely to get anything useful. Top search terms are reckoned to be 'royal wedding stream online' and variations around that theme.

What's really striking though is that this is the first truly digital event of its kind. Charles and Di in '83 may have attracted some attention, but this time, it'll be more a case of trying to escape it! 

Of the 2 billion (!) people estimated to be watching across the globe, an estimated 400 MILLION will stream the content online. 400 million. That's about six times the population of the UK, kids.

The royal family may have managed to turn down B Sky B's request to film the event in 3D (I kid you not), but they can't stop the hoards all trying to get their little bit of the magic digitally. Will the internet fall over? Who knows? Good luck servers across the globe!

I won't be watching online. I won't be watching on TV. I'll be on a beach on the south coast somewhere hopefully. But the thing is, I'll have my iPhone with me for sure. And Twitter. And Facebook. And the Royal Wedding digitally, in the palm of my hand. Looks like I might be getting involved, after all...

Twitter - 5 years old today!

Twitter - 5 years old today!

Today sees Twitter turn 5 years old and with it celebrate a meteoric rise to fame and popularity. Currently 1 billion tweets are being sent a week, indicating that the social media era is definitely here to stay. This fascination with the ability to broadcast ourselves to the world has changed the way we interact with each other. We can't seem to get enough social media, if we're not tweeting our latest thoughts or facebooking our friends we're watching blockbusters about the creation of our favourite social network.

It is a fact: Facebook and Twitter have defined a generation. Facebook and Twitter have a magic formula which attracts thousands of people. People who could become potential customers, there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to tap into that market through the platform that these social networks provide. Social media has replaced print advertisements, with an estimated 85% of small businesses launching social media campaigns this year.This new form of communication offers a way for businesses to personify themselves whilse using micro blogging as a sales and marketing tool.

We can see where this is going and are already doing social media campaigns for some of our clients. If you think social media could make a big change to your business we'd be happy to put together a social media strategy and implement it for you, don't hesitate to contact us.

Created on Monday March 21 2011 10:44 AM

Tags: youth young-people facebook social-media twitter socialmedia facebook

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